Thursday, 4 April 2013

Ikea like stool and table make-over

It's weird how the more we do, the more it seems we would like to be doing. Or is that just with me? When I haven't got any work on, I can hardly feel like getting off the bed - particularly when we have snow and is already April! However, whenever my diary is full on, I somehow manage to find time to add more things to it, including this post =)

I was so excited this morning when I was packing the items of the giveaway to send to Laura, the lucky winner, and as I was placing everything on my side table I realised I haven't yet shared with you that make-over! So here it goes...

I really like the way they look now, but they weren't always like that...

This table and stool on the picture above weren't always like that. They looked more like cheap Ikea furniture that they don't even bother to put on the website! I tried to find the respective links, but no luck... The stool, I cheekly admit, Mr. Hunter found outside our flat... I guess the neighbour who threw it away couldn't see the potential I saw.

When we did the first part of our living room make-over (read about it here) these birch veneer colour bits of furniture looked even more out of place than they had done before, so I thought - why not trying to paint them? But we all know what a nightmare it can be to work on "fake wood surfaces". I did my homework before attempting anything.

After a visiting my local B&Q and asking for some advice, I got myself the following kit:

- Dulux Difficult Surface Primer (but any primer that can be applied to melamine - the stuff that Ikea furniture is usually made of - works)
- Dulux Wood Sheen Ebony colour
- Crown Quick Dry Satin on Pure Brilliant White (mid shine finish)
- Plasti-Kote Spray Satin Black
- Lots of poly sheets (as I didn't want any paint on my living room floor - I wish I had a garage to work from)
- A small tray and a very good brush (the secret to a good finish, sometimes even more than the paint you choose. Living and learning)
- Sandpaper in three different roughness (light, medium and hard)

I started with the table. I already had some masking tape at home that I used to cover all the details I didn't want to paint, like the screws. Only to later realise that I would be better off taking (or at least loosening) them out. Because the table looked like "real" untreated wood, I used the light sandpaper to distress the surface a bit, enough to be able to apply the satin paint on the legs straight away. I didn't want to waste the primer on it as it was a bit pricy and, if the stools worked fine, I had bigger plans for it.

I applied the first coat and left it to dry for about 6 hours (I am too anxious to leave it overnight). Second coat on, I moved to doing the top, that I wanted in black. The wood sheen is meant to work as a paint and a varnish - two months now since I've done it, I think I will apply a clear varnish, just to make it easier to clean. It might be just me, but since I painted I seem to notice dust on it much more than before and cloths tend to stick to the wood.

After one coat of black wood sheen it looked like a second coat wasn't needed at all, but I decided to do it just in case, for peace of mind. The wood sheen dried much quicker than the white paint, so I didn't have to wait as long to apply the second coat.

I still don't know if the best way to spray paint something like those legs is with them lying flat or standing...

I wasn't expecting the stools (have I mention they were a pair?) to take as long as the table. They ended up taking twice as much time though. I started by separating the top from the legs and then I used the black spray paint. I still don't know what is the best way to use it, if indoors or outdoors. I explain: Indoors the smell is almost unbearable and you need to protect the surroundings really well from the "paint dust" - it goes everywhere, I mean EVE-RY-WHERE!!!

Outdoors, the slightest wind will drive you crazy. It just makes it impossible to hit your target, because you need to keep the bottle at an arm's distance from the surface to be painted. I did one set of legs outside and one inside, it worked in the end, but after a lot of trial and error.

The other problem I found with the spray paint is that it runs... Or at least on a tricky surface like the one I had. To cover every corner of the legs, some areas ended up receiving more paint than they needed and I had to be careful not to let those runny bits clog and dry that way.

I thought the seats would be easy after that, but I was wrong. Even with the hard sandpaper it's difficult to distress the melamine and you need to be extra careful not to overdo the edges. Once you've sanded and wiped your surface, it's time to apply the primer. I am happy with the one I got, it adhered to the wood really well. However, it takes time to dry, so I had to leave it overnight. Then I applied two coats of the satin white paint. I wasn't counting on balancing the seats as you leave them to dry being a problem, but it's definitely something you need to put some thought on before painting the surfaces, definitely not after.

I guess that's pretty much it... I am sorry for not having all the answers and clever solutions for this "how to", but I will have a go again at some furniture make-over and I hope to learn more through other experiences. And I am definitely sharing them here when it happens =)


  1. There are many species of heavy woods, the most common ones used for heavy things being Ebony woods, which are darker and more solid in color.

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  3. The result is really good! Like an Ikea stuff indeed. Somehow I like Ikea's furniture. It's so simple and stylish. And your way to make stool and table in Ikea style is really interesting. I think you should translate in in other languages too. If you decide to do that, I recommend you to visit first. You can pick the highest rated translation service there.

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